Decreasing protein levels?

willowbirdks

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
149
15
88
Hello all,

I have week and a half old Anconas that are currently eating a non medicated chick starter from my local feed store. My understanding is that next week they will need to change to a food with a lower protein content, 16% or so instead of 20%. However... I am still going to have quite a bit of the chick starter left, since I had to buy a 25-lb bag!

Some books I've read say that you can cut the protein level in the food by mixing in rolled oats that have been chopped into smaller bits. Has anyone ever done this? Thoughts or tips?

I'm completely new to owning any kind of bird at all, so I'm very much in the learning phase. Any help is appreciated!
 
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rebcart1905

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 11, 2014
73
3
43
Princeton, Minnesota
Im pretty new myself but I purchased a 27% flock starter, and I fed them strictly that the first week....started mixing in regular whole oats/niacin around 2.5 weeks or so, treats of peas/kale/dill etc... and they all seem to be doing fine---I ran out of oats yesterday and I had a bag of 16% chick starter feed as well so I just mixed that 1/2 and 1/2....no issues and hoping to keep it that way! We have 3 runners and 5 Buffs. When I start getting low on the starter, I will go pick a bag of Grower up and start adding in Oyster shells around 15/16weeks as im hoping for lots of good eggs! good luck.
 

Speceider

Songster
8 Years
Apr 4, 2011
1,169
108
161
If you try to cut the protein, you change the ME (energy content which controls how much they eat), and alter the amino acid content of the diet. For example, oatmeal is 0.2% methionine, but ducks need 2.1% methionine into the diet. I would look at buying a bag of lower protein feed and mixing them. Personally, I don't like feeding less than 18% protein at any time.

Clint
 

willowbirdks

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
149
15
88
Im pretty new myself but I purchased a 27% flock starter, and I fed them strictly that the first week....started mixing in regular whole oats/niacin around 2.5 weeks or so, treats of peas/kale/dill etc... and they all seem to be doing fine---I ran out of oats yesterday and I had a bag of 16% chick starter feed as well so I just mixed that 1/2 and 1/2....no issues and hoping to keep it that way! We have 3 runners and 5 Buffs. When I start getting low on the starter, I will go pick a bag of Grower up and start adding in Oyster shells around 15/16weeks as im hoping for lots of good eggs! good luck.
I worry about getting angel wing with too high of a protein content. Any signs of that with your ducklings yet? How old are they?

I'm also hoping for lots of good eggs, and I will wish you good luck right back. So far it's been fun! :)
 

willowbirdks

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
149
15
88
If you try to cut the protein, you change the ME (energy content which controls how much they eat), and alter the amino acid content of the diet. For example, oatmeal is 0.2% methionine, but ducks need 2.1% methionine into the diet. I would look at buying a bag of lower protein feed and mixing them. Personally, I don't like feeding less than 18% protein at any time.

Clint
Thank you for mentioning this, it's the first time I've read anything about amino acids in duck feed. Perhaps I will consider mixing two feeds as you've suggested -- for some reason that did not even occur to me!
 
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Speceider

Songster
8 Years
Apr 4, 2011
1,169
108
161
That assumes Angel wing is caused by high protein...I have read Gil's paper, and based upon my experience I am not convinced high (what is high....18....20) is the problem...I think it isuch more complicated..... genetics.... feed....activity....

Clint
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
8 Years
May 24, 2011
7,776
824
351
On, Canada
I think it depends a bit on the breed too.. i have run Muscovy & calls and Buffs on 18% from start right through to adults... and it's been fine, i did run my pekin on a 22% duck starter and then they have now transitioned down to the 16% pellet that everyone eats... all that said n done, almost all my ducks free range so they add stuff to their diets that way.

I do have whole corn out for my ducks too... it's not mixed, it's a separate feed container, so they decide on what they want and when. Most duck growers are 18% and recommended for pet ducks that said the whole where their kept, what else are they fed etc plays a role...
 

willowbirdks

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
149
15
88
That assumes Angel wing is caused by high protein...I have read Gil's paper, and based upon my experience I am not convinced high (what is high....18....20) is the problem...I think it isuch more complicated..... genetics.... feed....activity....

Clint
Besides genetics and feed, you think activity level could be another cause? I really do not know anything outside of what I've been reading in books and online... Which is also why I was curious if there had been any sign of angel wing in ducklings that were fed a level of protein than is higher than what I've seen recommended.

It's really genuine curiosity and trying to figure out what is best practice. Like I said, I've never raised ducks and I'm definitely interested in hearing what others have seen and experienced. Thanks for telling me what you've seen work well, I really appreciate it.
 
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willowbirdks

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
149
15
88
I think it depends a bit on the breed too.. i have run Muscovy & calls and Buffs on 18% from start right through to adults... and it's been fine, i did run my pekin on a 22% duck starter and then they have now transitioned down to the 16% pellet that everyone eats... all that said n done, almost all my ducks free range so they add stuff to their diets that way. 

I do have whole corn out for my ducks too... it's not mixed, it's a separate feed container, so they decide on what they want and when. Most duck growers are 18% and recommended for pet ducks that said the whole where their kept, what else are they fed etc plays a role...

Thanks for all the advice. I'm planning to let these guys free range during the day when they get older as well. I'm glad to hear from folks that maybe it's not quite as crucial as I had thought.
 

Speceider

Songster
8 Years
Apr 4, 2011
1,169
108
161
I live in Louisiana....I have more problems with angel wing in second clutches.... because of the heat they tend to be less active..... if I have the time and can chase them around... no angel wing....can not exercise them....I are angel wing....Gil's paper says it is genetic....bit growth rate is genetic....select for slower growth and you will see less angel wing.....

Clint
 
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